63rd Academy Awards

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63rd Academy Awards
Official poster promoting the 63rd Academy Awards in 1991.
Official poster
Date March 25, 1991
Site Shrine Auditorium
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Host Billy Crystal
Producer Gil Cates
Director Jeff Margolis
Best Picture Dances with Wolves
Most awards Dances with Wolves (7)
Most nominations Dances with Wolves (12)
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Duration 3 hours, 30 minutes[1]
Ratings 42.7 million
28.4% (Nielsen ratings)

The 63rd Academy Awards ceremony, organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), took place on March 25, 1991, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles beginning at 6:00 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, Academy Awards (commonly referred to as the Oscars), were presented in 23 categories. The ceremony, which was televised in the United States on ABC, was produced by Gil Cates and directed by Jeff Margolis.[2] Actor Billy Crystal hosted for the second consecutive year.[3] Three weeks earlier in a ceremony held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California on March 2, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Geena Davis.[4]

Dances with Wolves won seven awards including Best Picture.[5] Other winners included Dick Tracy with three awards, Ghost with two awards, and American Dream, Creature Comforts, Cyrano de Bergerac, Days of Waiting, Goodfellas, The Hunt for Red October, Journey of Hope, The Lunch Date, Misery, Reversal of Fortune, and Total Recall with one. The telecast garnered nearly 43 million viewers in the United States.

Winners and nominees[edit]

The nominees for the 63rd Academy Awards were announced on February 13, 1991, at 5:38 a.m. PST (13:38 UTC) at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by Karl Malden, president of the Academy, and actor Denzel Washington.[6] Dances with Wolves led the nominations with twelve total; Dick Tracy and The Godfather Part III tied for second with seven each.[7][8]

The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on March 25, 1991.[9] Kevin Costner became the fifth person to earn the Best Director Award for his directorial debut and to earn nominations for Best Actor and Best Director for the same film.[10][11] Best Supporting Actress winner Whoopi Goldberg was the second African American woman to win an award. Hattie McDaniel previously won in the same aforementioned category for Gone With the Wind.[12][13]


Photo of Kevin Costner at the 2013 César Awards
Kevin Costner, Best Director winner
Photo of actor Jeremy Irons at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival
Jeremy Irons, Best Actor winner
A portrait of Actress Kathy Bates at the Giffoni Film Festival
Kathy Bates, Best Actress winner
A picture of actor Joe Pesci in 2009
Joe Pesci, Best Supporting Actor winner
A photo of Whoopi Goldberg during rehearsals for Comic Relief 2006
Whoopi Goldberg, Best Supporting Actress winner
A photo of composer John Barry from 2006
John Barry, Best Original Score winner
A black and white photo of Stephen Sondheim in 1976
Stephen Sondheim, Best Original Song winner

Winners[14] are listed first and indicated with a double-dagger (double-dagger).

  • Academy Honorary Awards
    • Sophia Loren
      • "One of the genuine treasures of world cinema who, in a career rich with memorable performances, has added permanent luster to our art form."[15]
    • Myrna Loy
      • "In recognition of her extraordinary qualities both on screen and off, with appreciation for a lifetime’s worth of indelible performances."[15]

Multiple nominations and awards[edit]

Presenters and performers[edit]

The following individuals, listed in order of appearance, presented awards or performed musical numbers.[18][19]


Name(s) Role
O'Donnell, CharlieCharlie O'Donnell Announcer for the 63rd annual Academy Awards
Malden, KarlKarl Malden (AMPAS President) Gave opening remarks welcoming guests to the awards ceremony
Caine, MichaelMichael Caine Presenter of the opening number
Washington, DenzelDenzel Washington Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress
Wiest, DianneDianne Wiest Presenter of the award for Best Sound
Lemmon, JackJack Lemmon Presenter of the film Ghost on the Best Picture segment
Archer, AnneAnne Archer Presenter of the award for Best Makeup
Fricker, BrendaBrenda Fricker Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actor
Chase, ChevyChevy Chase
Martin Short
Presenters of the awards for Best Live Action Short Film
Woody Woodpecker, Woody Woodpecker Presenter of the award for Best Animated Short Film
Huston, AnjelicaAnjelica Huston Presenter of the Honorary Academy Award to Myrna Loy
Pesci, JoeJoe Pesci Introducer of the performance of Best Song nominee "Somewhere in My Memory"
Bening, AnnetteAnnette Bening Presenter of the award for Best Costume Design
Davis, GeenaGeena Davis Presenter of the segment of the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement and Gordon E. Sawyer Award
Aiello, DannyDanny Aiello Presenter of the film Goodfellas on the Best Picture segment
Valenti, JackJack Valenti Presenter of the award for Best Visual Effects
Douglas, MichaelMichael Douglas Presenter of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to David Brown and Richard D. Zanuck
Baldwin, AlecAlec Baldwin
Kim Basinger
Introducer of the special dance number to the tune of the Best Original Score nominees
Presenters of the award for Best Original Score
Glover, DannyDanny Glover
Kevin Kline
Presenters of the award for Best Film Editing
Gere, RichardRichard Gere
Susan Sarandon
Presenters of the award for Best Art Direction
Hope, BobBob Hope Presenter of the "My First Movie" montage
Cates, PhoebePhoebe Cates
Ron Silver
Presenters of the awards for Best Documentary Short Subject and Best Documentary Feature
De Niro, RobertRobert De Niro Presenter of the film Dances with Wolves on the Best Picture segment
Garcia, AndyAndy Garcia
Whoopi Goldberg
Presenters of the awards for Best Sound Effects Editing
Slater, ChristianChristian Slater Introducer of Best Song nominee "Blaze of Glory"
Close, GlennGlenn Close Presenter of the award for Best Cinematography
Hoffman, DustinDustin Hoffman Presenter of the award for Best Foreign Language Film
Foster, JodieJodie Foster
Anthony Hopkins
Presenters of the awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Winger, DebraDebra Winger Presenter of the film Awakenings on the Best Picture segment
Peck, GregoryGregory Peck Presenter of the Honorary Academy Award to Sophia Loren
Hines, GregoryGregory Hines
Presenters of the award for Best Original Song
Day-Lewis, DanielDaniel Day-Lewis Presenter of the award for Best Actress
Tandy, JessicaJessica Tandy Presenter of the award for Best Actor
Bridges, JeffJeff Bridges Presenter of the film The Godfather Part III on the Best Picture segment
Cruise, TomTom Cruise Presenter of the award for Best Director
Streisand, BarbraBarbra Streisand Presenter of the award for Best Picture


Name(s) Role Performed
Conti, BillBill Conti Musical Arranger
Guy, JasmineJasmine Guy
Steve LaChance
Performers Opening number
Crystal, BillyBilly Crystal Host Opening number:
Goodfellas (to the tune of "Goody Goody")
Dances With Wolves (to the tune of "Dancing in the Dark" from The Band Wagon)
Ghost (to the tune of "L-O-V-E")
The Godfather Part III (to the tune of "Speak Softly Love" from The Godfather)
Awakenings (to the tune of "All the Way")[20]
Madonna Madonna Performer "Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy
Children's choir, Children's choir Performers "Somewhere in My Memory" from Home Alone
McEntire, RebaReba McEntire Performer "I'm Checkin' Out" from Postcards from the Edge
Bon Jovi, Bon Jovi Performers "Blaze of Glory" from Young Guns II
Connick Jr., HarryHarry Connick Jr. Performer "Promise Me You'll Remember (Love Theme from The Godfather Part III)" from The Godfather Part III

Ceremony information[edit]

A picture of Billy Crystal at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012.
Billy Crystal hosted the ceremony.

Riding on the critical praise from last year's ceremony, the Academy rehired former film producer and former Directors Guild of America president Gil Cates to oversee production of the Oscar ceremony for the second straight time.[21] Two months before the awards gala, Cates selected actor and comedian Billy Crystal to host the show for the second consecutive year.[22] In a statement released by AMPAS, Crystal joked, "It's a great honor, and I hope to bring the show in under nine hours."[22]

As with the last year's theme of "Around the World in 3 1/2 Hours," Cates centered the show around a theme. He christened the ceremony with the theme "100 Years of Film" in celebration to the centennial of the development of both the kinetoscope by Thomas Edison and celluloid film by Eastman Kodak.[23] In tandem with the theme, the show featured an ambitious opening segment. Actor Michael Caine introduced the segment live via satellite from the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris, where the short film L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat made its debut in 1895.[24] After a brief clip of the film, the show cut back to the Shrine Auditorium stage where actress Jasmine Guy and other dancers performed whilst a montage of film clips were projected in the background.[25] Filmmaker Chuck Workman filmed a vignettes featuring actors such as Sally Field, Andy García, and Anjelica Huston discussing the first movie he or she watched.[26]

Several other people participated in the production of the ceremony. Film composer and musician Bill Conti served as musical director for the ceremony.[27] Dancer Debbie Allen choreographed a dancer number showcasing the Best Original Score nominees.[28] Despite losing eight members of her band in a plane crash, a visibly emotional Reba McEntire performed the Best Original Song nominee "I'm Checkin' Out" from the film Postcards from the Edge.[29] At the beginning of the ceremony, wrangler Lisa Brown escorted host Crystal, and Beechnut, a horse that was prominently featured in the upcoming film City Slickers.[30]

Box office performance of nominees[edit]

At the time of the nominations announcement on February 12, the combined gross of the five Best Picture nominees at the US box office was $458.2 million with an average of $41 million per film.[31] Ghost was the highest earner among the Best Picture nominees with $213.5 million in domestic box office receipts. The film was followed by Dances with Wolves ($104.3 million), The Godfather Part III ($62.5 million), Goodfellas ($41 million), and finally Awakenings ($36.7 million).[31]

Of the top 50 highest grossing films of the year, 51 nominations went to 12 films on the list. Only Ghost (2nd), Pretty Woman (3rd), Dances with Wolves (8th), Dick Tracy (9th), The Godfather Part III (17th), Goodfellas (30th) and Awakenings (34th) were nominated for Best Picture, directing, acting, or screenwriting. The other top 50 box office hits that earned the nominations were Home Alone (1st), The Hunt for Red October (5th), Total Recall (6th), Days of Thunder (12th), and Edward Scissorhands (22nd).[32]

Critical reviews[edit]

The show received a mixed reception from media publications. Some media outlets were more critical of the show. Rick DuBrow of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "It was a long day's journey into night for Oscar, one of the most effective sleeping pills of the year." He also added that while host Crystal started out strong, his jokes fell flat as the night progressed.[33] The Washington Post television critic Tom Shales noted that Crystal, "followed many gags by instantly rating the reaction of the audience, as if it were up to them to please him instead of the other way around." In addition, he commented, "The Oscars seemed more of a fizzle than usual this year."[34] Columnist Dan Craft of The Pantagraph remarked, "The Oscar show has become innocuously hip and yuppified. Kitsch and nostalgia have given way to efficiency and upward mobility. Everyone is tiresomely well-behaved and, worse, well-dressed." He also commented that host Crystal's insider showbiz jokes fell flat and were confusing to television audiences.[35]

Other media outlets received the broadcast more positively. Columnist Harold Schindler of The Salt Lake Tribune wrote, "Billy Crystal kept things moving Monday night in such a manner that the extra quarter-hour was scarcely noticeable." He also said of the telecast's theme of film history, "The Academy used its film library to excellent advantage."[36] Film critic Leonard Maltin remarked, "Emotions ran high and they gave us all a chance to feel vicariously what it might be like to win this kind of award...good guys finishing first and the part of Hollywood we like best, a happy ending."[25] Orlando Sentinel film critic Jay Boyar complimented Crystal for invigorating the gala noting that his "clever remarks at the academy's 63rd annual awards presentation struck an entertaining balance between inside-Hollywood quips and general-audience jests."[37]

Ratings and reception[edit]

The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 42.7 million people over its length, which was a 6% increase from the previous year's ceremony.[38] An estimated 76 million total viewers watched all or part of the awards.[39] The show also drew higher Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony with 28.4% of households watching over a 48 share.[40] It was the most watched Oscars telecast since the 56th ceremony held in 1984.[41]

In July 1991, the ceremony presentation received nine nominations at the 43rd Primetime Emmys.[42] The following month, the ceremony won three of those nominations for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Program (Gil Cates), Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program (Billy Crystal), and Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program (Hal Kanter, Buz Kohan, Billy Crystal, David Steinberg, Bruce Vilanch, and Robert Wuhl).[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 809
  2. ^ "Credits". Jeff Margolis Productions. Retrieved October 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ Kleid, Beth (January 24, 1991). "Awards Update". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Past Scientific & Technical Awards Ceremonies". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Archived from the original on February 13, 2014. Retrieved July 31, 2013. 
  5. ^ Rother, Larry (March 26, 1991). "Kevin Costner and 'Dances With Wolves' Win Top Oscar Prizes". The New York Times (Arthur Ochs Sulzberger). Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  6. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 795
  7. ^ Fox, David J, (February 14, 1991). "Oscar Dances With 'Wolves' : Costner Film Leads Pack With 12 Nominations". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  8. ^ Ryan, Desmond (February 14, 1991). "Oscar's Choices In The Academy Award Nominations, Kevin Costner's Epic, "Dances With Wolves," Did What No Movie Had Done Since "Reds" - Get A Dozen Nods.". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia Media Network). Retrieved March 25, 2015. 
  9. ^ Rickey, Carrie (March 26, 1991). "Kevin Costner's Night To Howl "Dances With Wolves" Takes Home Seven Oscars From 12 Nominations, While Kathy Bates And Jeremy Irons Take Top Acting Awards.". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia Media Network). Retrieved February 25, 2015. 
  10. ^ Lyttelton, Oliver (February 20, 2013). "Oscar Trivia: 50 Fun Facts To Prepare You For The 85th Academy Awards". IndieWire (Snagfilms). Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  11. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 1166
  12. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 798
  13. ^ Lewis, Claude (March 27, 1991). "Whopee for Whoopi Goldberg". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia Media Network). Retrieved July 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ "The 63rd Academy Awards (1991) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. AMPAS. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Kinn & Piazza 2002, p. 269
  16. ^ Puig, Claudia (January 28, 1991). "Movies". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  17. ^ Silver, Edward (March 25, 1991). "The Highs and Lows of Future Special Effects : Movies: Character-driven stories are dominating due to a recession mentality. But summer releases will pack plenty of visual ingenuity". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  18. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 800
  19. ^ "Prelude to the Oscars : Awards: The nominees and other party-goers had another race to contend with--going from a publicists' luncheon to a Scorsese tribute to the independent filmmakers awards.". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). March 25, 1991. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  20. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 802
  21. ^ "Short Takes: Dates for '91 Oscars Scheduled". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). September 21, 1990. Retrieved February 27, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Crystal Will Again Be Host Of Academy Awards Show". Orlando Sentinel (Tribune Company). January 25, 1991. Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  23. ^ Sloan, Eugene (March 25, 1991). "Movies Are the Star of the Show". USA Today (Gannett Company). p. 5D. 
  24. ^ Scott, Jay (March 26, 1991). "Oscar awards". The Globe and Mail (The Globe and Mail Inc.). p. C1. 
  25. ^ a b Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 812
  26. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 806
  27. ^ "Events". Bill Conti. Bill Conti. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  28. ^ Wiley & Bona 1996, p. 805
  29. ^ MacCambridge, Michael (March 26, 1991). "Wolves' leads the pack with seven awards". Austin American-Statesman (Cox Enterprises). p. D1. 
  30. ^ Wilson 2007, p. 150
  31. ^ a b "1990 Academy Award Nominations and Winner for Best Picture". Box Office Mojo (Amazon.com). Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  32. ^ "1990 Box Office Grosses (as of February 12, 1991)". Box Office Mojo (Amazon.com). Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  33. ^ DuBrow, Rick (March 26, 1991). "Oscar Endures Another Hard Day's Night". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  34. ^ Shales, Tom (March 27, 1991). "The Show Doesn't Make A Spectacle of Itself". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). p. B1. 
  35. ^ "New Academy Awards version isn't much fun". The Pantagraph (Lee Enterprises). March 29, 1991. p. C2. 
  36. ^ Schindler, Harold (March 27, 1991). "Academy Gives Its Best Performance As Crystal Sparkles on Oscar Night". The Salt Lake Tribune (MediaNew Group). p. A5. 
  37. ^ Boyar, Jay (March 29, 1991). "Oscar Night's Improvements Are Crystal-clear". Orlando Sentinel (Tribune Company). Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  38. ^ Johnson, Greg (March 18, 1999). "Call It the Glamour Bowl". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  39. ^ Margulies, Lee (April 3, 1991). "TV Ratings: The Ratings Award Goes to Oscar". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved February 27, 2014. 
  40. ^ DuBrow, Rick (March 27, 1991). "Ratings Up Slightly for ABC's Oscar Telecast". Los Angelese Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  41. ^ Gorman, Bill (February 26, 2011). "1-Featured With No 'Avatar' Expect 'Academy Awards' Viewership To Fall; Ratings History + Your Guess For This Year (Poll)". TV by the Numbers (Tribune Company). Retrieved February 28, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Primetime Emmy Award database". Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS). Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Emmy Awards: The Other Winners". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). August 26, 1991. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 


External links[edit]

Official websites


Other resources